Online Healthcare Compliance Training for Employees: 4 Topics to Consider

By Julie Sheppard, BSN, JD, CHC, Founder & President, First Healthcare Compliance, LLC
Twitter: @1sthcc

Compliance professionals agree that training the workforce is a major component of a successful compliance program. In fact, employee education is an important first step toward preventing, detecting, and mitigating noncompliance. As a result of the pandemic, online education is a necessity instead of a mere convenience for healthcare compliance professionals and administrators of medical offices tasked with implementing workforce training. Multiple resources are available and selecting the right training modules for your employees may be confusing. It’s important to strive for best practices and to provide high quality content that addresses the correct content for every member of your workforce.

What are Best Practices for Adult Learning in Healthcare Compliance?
Although elementary students and adult employees may be working side by side at home while participating in online classrooms and meetings during the pandemic, the learning styles and needs are starkly different. The learning needs of adults are distinct from younger students. Online learning is generally a good fit for adults because they inherently approach education with more life experience and tend to be more self-directed than children. In healthcare it’s especially important to consider relevant skills, competencies and role specific requirements when selecting online content. For instance, the billing personnel need different education than the front desk team or clinicians. The objective is to achieve understanding, so competency of the material should be assessed throughout a module or at the completion of a course. Any knowledge gaps must be addressed and reassessed. For an adult learning population in healthcare, soft skills are an additionally important part of education. Because medical environments exist to serve patients, employees must master soft skills such as effective communication along with technical skills and other required learning.

What Constitutes High Quality Online Education?
Many healthcare professionals are adjusting to online learning. It’s beneficial to provide a consistent format with predictable structure and expectations. For instance, the training library at First Healthcare Compliance contains modules that are accessed and tracked in the same manner. Instruction may be assigned individually or grouped via role or location with certificates available at successful completion. Even the most reluctant online learners become comfortable and able to focus on content with an established routine. Different styles and strengths among students exist so offering education in print, video and audio along with live sessions is ideal to help all students achieve their goals. Expert level instructors and learning credits signify a standard of quality. Training that offers reputable continuing education units or CME for physicians provides peace of mind.

What Training Topics Should be Covered in a Healthcare Compliance Program?
Successful employee education is an integral part of a comprehensive healthcare compliance program. Compliance professionals must consider which topics should be offered to the workforce. Of course, proper training depends on variables such as type of healthcare organization, roles of employees and location of the entity. States may impose specific requirements that go beyond federal requirements. Generally, four broad categories cover the topics imperative to the start of a comprehensive healthcare compliance program.

  1. HIPAA
    Any employee who comes in contact with protected health information (PHI) must receive HIPAA training. Health and Human Services (HHS) provides material for HIPAA education and training for professionals. It’s important to understand patient’s rights and how HIPAA Privacy and Security apply to your setting. First Healthcare Compliance offers multiple options with books, online modules, a podcast, and an annual live conference in collaboration with Delaware Law School.
  2. OSHA
    All employers must meet the requirements of the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). In medical environments, specific hazards are present and OSHA provides standards such as bloodborne pathogens and globally harmonized systems. First Healthcare Compliance resources include an online module that reviews the OSHA standards for healthcare employers, including the consequences of OSHA violations, and a plan for OSHA compliance.
  3. Federal Fraud Waste and Abuse and General Compliance
    Among compliance professionals these training topics are typically referred to as the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) training because Medicare Advantage (Part C) plan sponsors and Medicare Prescription Drug (Part D) plan sponsors set certain compliance program requirements. Additionally, providers must document employee education about federal fraud waste and abuse laws and the core elements of a compliance and ethics program as a condition of contracts with various payors. The First Healthcare Compliance YouTube channel offers a playlist dedicated to these topics.
  4. Human Resources
    In the healthcare setting, compliance teams and human resources professionals experience some overlapping goals and share the interest of employee training and education. Training topics that fall under this category include employee orientation, federal discrimination and harassment prevention training for employees, workplace bullying prevention for employees, and diversity and inclusion training. The First Healthcare Compliance online shop offers on demand modules such as Basics of the Family Medical Leave Act and Federal Employment Laws Impacting Healthcare Providers.

This article was originally published on 1st Healthcare Compliance and is republished here with permission.